The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has claimed that human rights conditions in the country are deteriorating, blaming the development on “government’s insensitivity to the plight of the citizenry”.
The commission, led by its top management team, has blamed the current administration for failing to address problems such as rising cost of living, acute fuel shortage and power blackouts.
At a press briefing in Lilongwe Monday, the commission blamed President Lazarus Chakwera for “incessant travels”, imploring him to reduce his convoy and be in the forefront of adhering to austerity measures.
MHRC Chairperson Scalder Louis indicated, in a prepared statement, that the commission understands that forex shortage is the cause of erratic fuel supply in the country.
She, however, blamed the government for being slow in taking action to address the problem.
“The continued depletion of the limited forex through external travels and the alleged dubious purchase of Affordable Inputs Programme [materials] meant for the 2022-23 planting season, in which the commission has learnt [that] forex was involved, are worrisome developments in this regard.
“The commission is concerned that government continues to display insensitivity to the plight of the citizenry, given the current situation as reflected in the continued increase of local and international travels contrary to the austerity measures which were introduced by government itself to address the situation,” she said.
MHRC has further decried deteriorating standards in the healthcare service delivery system, delays to fully operationalise land disputes settlement mechanisms under the new land laws, non-disclosure of the Report on the Review of Public Service Systems, among other things.
Reacting to the sentiments, government spokesperson Gospel Kazako said it is not true that the government has been insensitive to the suffering of Malawians, as it is working on long lasting solutions.
He told The Daily Times Monday that the challenges have been compounded by the global situation.
“What we are trying to do now is to come up with Malawi that is built on concrete, a Malawi that, if we were to achieve it, then we will have to cover some of the subjects that are in the syllabus like what we are covering now,” Kazako said.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.